Monday, April 7, 2014

You Learn Something New Every Day…..

2011-07-29_18-53-038… and some of those lessons can be very expensive.  Our “toad” is front wheel drive with a manual transmission.  That configuration has an advantage in that with the shifter in neutral, the transmission is disengaged from the front drive wheels and does not spin while being towed down the road.  The disadvantage is that you have to shift the gears using the clutch when driving the car.

Lately, the car has been having some shifting problems.  A couple of times it took a few minutes of trying before we could get it shifted into reverse.  For awhile we thought we were going to have to push it back to get it out of the space.  And then the shifting in the forward gears was very labored as well.  Gary took the car to the dealership to have it checked out.  Then the dreaded call came – the clutch was shot and would need to be rebuilt – a major repair.  Gary pursued with them why the clutch would have failed.  One, they said the car does have 80,000 miles on it, but then they asked, “do you downshift it through the gears?”   “Of course we downshift” was Gary’s reply.  The Service Advisor then explained that it is no longer recommend to use downshifting to slow a vehicle, that one should just shift to neutral and slow it solely through braking.

Gary did some research on the internet and also called up a service advisor he knows well and trusts in Detroit.  Sure enough, downshifting is not recommended – it is better (cheaper) to use up the brakes than the clutch.  So one does learn something new every day.  And the cost of this lesson – over $2,500.  So if you are one who still is downshifting……………..

7 comments:

  1. This just prompted a big conversation between us on down shifting and all things manual transmission -- and our toad is an automatic. So sorry your learning experience had to be expensive. Ouch.

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  2. Wouldn't it be about the same to replace the car?

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    1. When I was asking the service adviser about options, he did say "well you could trade it in". I did think about it for just a bit. It has a trade in value of about $4,500 but with a bad clutch likely only $2,000 or less. That might have covered getting a new one set up for towing is about all. The current one is serving us well so we took the chance with the repair. But something like a Lincoln MKX sure would look good towing along behind us.

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  3. Well, that is a new one for us as well. I had never heard that before. Since our Honda Fit has a manual transmission, I believe I'll do a bit of research and see what I can find out about Honda transmissions. Thanks.

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    1. Here is a link from Tom and Ray of the Car Guys http://www.cartalk.com/content/when-should-you-downshift-manual-transmission

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  4. Gary & CecileApril 8, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    We've not heard about that either. Looks like I'll have to stop downshifting too. Old habits die hard.

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    1. Another link on this subject: http://www.edmunds.com/car-safety/busting-the-myths-of-driving-a-manual-transmission.html

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